It is heartbreaking when we get to know how our beautiful oceans get polluted every day. With each such story, massive efforts are made to turning the tide on pollution.

Today, according to the analyses done by conservationists it is estimated that the waste count is within the trillions, amounting to over 260,000 heaps of plastic waste dumped into oceans. Not only do the various types of plastics and paint destroy the water, but they are also dangerous to ocean life that swallows or gets caught in them.

This is, however, a feel-good story that is an example (and a reminder!) of how we need to pay attention and save our ocean life. A video surfaced that shows how scuba divers in Lembeh, Republic of Indonesia are convincing a baby veined octopus to change “homes”—from a clear plastic cup to some of the seashells.

Pall Sigurdsson & other divers come across a baby octopus living in a plastic cup

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson

Bored Panda contacted one of the divers, Pall Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson is an engineer and diving enthusiast from Iceland who is passionate about making videos of animals that he encounters during his underwater adventures.

“This was our third dive that day, and we were all starting to get a little bit tired. My dive buddy sent me a hand signal indicating that he had found an octopus and asked me to come over for help.” Sigurdsson explained about the baby octopus.

The team tried so hard to save the octopus that they almost ran out of oxygen

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson

“I am no stranger to seeing octopi making homes out of trash. They are clever animals and use their environment to their advantage, and trash is a permanent part of their environment now,” continued Sigurdsson. “However the octopus with its soft tentacles did not know that this cup offers virtually no protection, and in a competitive environment like the ocean, this cup was a guaranteed death sentence.”

Sigurdsson and other divers were so dedicated to helping this little veined octopus that they spent their entire dive and much of their oxygen to the cause. In the end, they were successful in persuading the new-found friend to switch “real-estate”.

Veined octopi are born with the instinct to guard themselves by scavenging for coconut or clamshells to create housing. Hence, they’re generally referred to as coconut octopi.

However, when the natural materials are unavailable, they tend to select anything they find on the ocean bed, it can be empty plastic cups or containers.

The octopus is not only left prone to predators due to the plastic, however, but this will also result in predators consuming the octopus along with the plastic.

The predator would possibly die or be weakened to a degree where a much bigger predator would also consume the animal, this will continue to cycle and end continuing to destroy wildlife.

We asked Sigurdsson whether he is exposed to this kind of experience daily. “There are good days, and bad days are depending on ocean currents. Some days, you see so much trash that it is almost impossible to film sea creatures without also including trash.”

“I try as hard as I can to make people see the ocean when it looks its best. Once I saw a family of anemonefish living next to a corroded battery. That was heartbreaking,” sighed Sigurdsson.

The adorable octopus happily moved into the new home

Plastic is the main pollutant in oceans and everyone has the potential to make the oceans a better place to live for everyone. Sigurdsson elaborated on this by saying “Most trash (including plastic) sinks. Most people only talk about the parts that they can see. The part that floats, but that’s just scratching the surface of the problem. Plastic straws are a minuscule part of the problem.”

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson

This video shows Sigurdsson and his team persuaded the octopus to switch “real estate”

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Silje Randrup
4 years ago

Cousteau and his team were the first to spend a lot of time—many hours at a stretch—in the water observing and filming wild octopuses and getting to know different individuals by visiting them regularly. Before long, some of the animals would come out to greet the divers, even climbing onto them and going for a ride. Others were shy, and would stay in their holes. Some appeared to develop preferences for particular humans. The divers wanted to know whether octopuses—as suspected—steal fish from fishermen’s nets, so they set up a net complete with several fish, and settled back to watch.… Read more »